From: White House
Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2006
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Throughout the history of flight, the U.S. Government has played a leading role in advancing the fundamental scientific principles and technologies on which modern aviation is built. However, there has never been a unifying Federal policy to focus and guide its research and development (R&D) efforts. Entering the second century of flight, improved coordination, cooperation, and planning will be needed across the Federal Government to continue to meet new challenges through technology as aeronautics continues to become an ever more integral part of American life. A number of recent studies and reports have looked to address this issue, including the 2002 report from the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and several recent studies from the National Research Council, including its 2003 report, Securing the Future of U.S. Air Transportation and its 2006 Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics. In addition, focus on a national aeronautics R&D policy was magnified by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 and the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006, which called for the development of a national policy to guide Federal aeronautics R&D programs through 2020. Accordingly, the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Technology established an Aeronautics Science and Technology Subcommittee to undertake this effort. This policy reflects the result of that effort, and includes recommendations to clarify, focus, and coordinate Federal Government aeronautics R&D activities to help meet these challenges and advance aeronautics well into the century.
On December 17, 1903, the historic flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, forever changed the American way of life. Today, aviation provides a broad range of services to the United States, including effective military flight operations and homeland defense, passenger travel, shipment of goods, law enforcement, traffic management, emergency services, and general aviation. Aviation has also become an integral part of the economy, posting strong manufacturing sales and a positive balance of trade, and along with related industries, supports several million skilled jobs in the United States. Flight is a mainstay of American life, supporting a technologically advanced, robust, and growing economy, and helping protect American interests at home and abroad.
Throughout the first century of aviation, the U.S. Government played a vital role in facilitating the advancement of the fundamental scientific principles and technologies on which modern aviation is built. In the second century of flight, a continued strong U.S. Government role in aeronautics R&D is needed to meet U.S. military and security objectives, create an environment in which U.S. industry remains innovative and competitive, and enable safe, reliable, and efficient air transportation.
As the science and application of aeronautics progressed, an interdependence developed among the aircraft, the air transportation system, and the people who use these systems, resulting in a multi-dimensional, highly integrated aeronautics enterprise. This policy considers the aeronautics enterprise to be comprised of all elements of aviation, including civil and military aircraft and aircraft systems, the air transportation management system, aviation infrastructure, and the people involved in the design, development, operation, and use of these elements. Design or modification of any of these individual systems or parts, without consideration for the collective effect on the enterprise, may result in adverse unintended consequences. Treating the entire system as a whole is complex but necessary, and requires close coordination among multiple government departments and agencies as well as industry, academia, and other non-Federal stakeholders to ensure that the needs of all enterprise users are addressed.
In order to maintain its technological leadership across the aeronautics enterprise, the United States should be guided by the following principles:
III. POLICY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The overarching goal of this policy is to advance U.S. technological leadership in aeronautics by fostering a vibrant and dynamic aeronautics R&D community that includes government, industry, and academia. To this end, in accordance with the above principles, as well as the President's Management Agenda and the Office of Management and Budget's R&D Investment Criteria, the U.S. Government should:
IV. GENERAL GUIDELINES
In order to achieve the goal of this policy, the executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government should adhere to the following general guidelines:
Role of the Federal Government in Aeronautics R&D. The Federal Government should only undertake roles in supporting aeronautics R&D that are not more appropriately performed by the private sector. Specifically, the Federal Government plays a key role in the following three aspects of aeronautics R&D.
Investment in a full range of aeronautics R&D that supports national defense and homeland security, from basic research through advanced technology development and beyond, is a responsibility of executive departments and agencies and should remain a U.S. Government priority.
The U.S. Government plays a unique role in long-term, fundamental aeronautics research that provides the foundation for future technology development. Executive departments and agencies perform this role through direct Federal investment and indirectly through policies and regulations that stimulate academic or private sector R&D investment and innovation. In addition, executive departments and agencies should provide for the widest practical and appropriate dissemination of research results, consistent with national security, foreign policy, and the Office of Management and Budget's Information Quality Guidelines.
The Federal Government also has a role in more advanced civil aeronautics research. In these cases, the Federal Government's involvement in R&D must be based on well-defined goals with objective measures of efficacy. These goals must be scrutinized to ensure that the government is not stepping beyond its legitimate purpose by competing with or unfairly subsidizing commercial ventures. In such cases, the primary areas of government involvement are:
Aeronautics Workforce. To further a robust U.S. aeronautics enterprise, the United States must have a workforce within government, industry, and academia that is well-educated and experienced in aeronautics science, technology, acquisition, and operations. Executive departments and agencies with responsibility for aeronautics-related activities should continue to invest in the educational development of the future aeronautics workforce as needed to further U.S. Government interests.
Academic Cooperation. To enable a robust, technologically advanced aeronautics R&D environment, the United States must cultivate human talent and creativity by fostering a vibrant, innovative academic community dedicated to aeronautical technical disciplines. To further advance a strong U.S. academic community dedicated to aeronautics, executive departments and agencies should continue to:
Commercial Cooperation. The aeronautics enterprise is an integral part of the nation's economy. In order to foster a competitive domestic commercial aeronautics sector, executive departments and agencies should continue to:
The Department of Commerce (DOC), in consultation with other executive departments and agencies as appropriate, should continue to provide industry perspectives, economic analyses, and competitiveness implications in relevant interagency policy committees.
International Relations. The U.S. Government should continue to pursue, as appropriate, international cooperation on aeronautics R&D activities through mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign nations and/or consortia to further the peaceful use of the sky and for other civil and scientific purposes. Such cooperation must be consistent with U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. Federal aeronautics R&D investment and policies must also be consistent with U.S. international trade obligations. The United States should work to ensure that foreign governments abide by their international trade obligations and that aeronautics R&D policies do not place the U.S. aeronautics enterprise at a competitive disadvantage. The Office of the United States Trade Representative, with support from the International Trade Commission, should work with DOC, the Department of State, and other executive departments and agencies as appropriate through existing interagency committees to evaluate the trade-related impacts of foreign government civil aeronautics R&D policies and, as necessary, formulate U.S. government responses to those policies.
V. STABLE AND LONG-TERM FOUNDATIONAL RESEARCH GUIDELINES
America's traditional aeronautics strength lies in its excellence and leadership in technology and innovation. A broad-based national foundational research program forms the underlying basis for new technological advances and breakthroughs needed to sustain U.S. leadership in aeronautics. For purposes of this policy, foundational research consists of basic research and many aspects of applied research that require continued long-term scientific study, focused on advancing a strong technology base in aeronautics, with basic research and applied research defined as in the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-11. Foundational research includes the discovery of new ideas, concepts, and approaches leading to new technologies and capabilities, as well as focused, scientific research based on fundamental principles to solve difficult problems and overcome challenges that hamper technological progress.
A strong foundational research program forms the technology base for the future of the U.S. aeronautics enterprise. It provides the fundamental understanding, tools, and future technologies to maintain and advance U.S. leadership in aeronautics. In addition, foundational research provides critical opportunities and resources to further the engineering, science, and mathematics education of the future aeronautics R&D workforce. The key to a successful foundational research program is long-term stability and focus, allowing researchers to take risks and innovate. To enable stability and focus, the Federal Government must take a strategic approach to foundational research and coordinate efforts across executive departments and agencies.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Executive Departments and Agencies
VI. ADVANCED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES
Advanced aircraft technologies and systems continue to be needed to meet the growing demand for moving people and goods and to provide superior military capability to the United States. Advances in aircraft capabilities, including speed and altitude, aircraft size, range and payload, environmental compatibility, efficiency, and the ability to safely operate in adverse conditions, could break technology barriers and lead to greater mobility to meet tomorrow's commercial, military, and general aviation needs. As demand for air transportation continues to increase, traditional approaches to meeting this demand will need to give way to more innovative multidisciplinary approaches that integrate traditional aircraft systems with air transportation management systems.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Executive Departments and Agencies:
Commercial development of civil aircraft, components, and technologies will remain in the private sector.
VII. AIR TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS GUIDELINES
Meeting projected demand for increased passenger travel and cargo shipments over the next 25 to 50 years will require considerable increases in the capacity of the air transportation system. Moreover, the air transportation system must support new aircraft concepts, civil and military users, and uncrewed aerial systems, and must also provide for seamless and secure operation of aircraft across U.S. boundaries to other parts of the globe. The Federal Government, through the JPDO and in accordance with Public Law 108-176, has defined a vision for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) that will guide system-wide transformation to meet these needs.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Executive Departments and Agencies:
VIII. NATIONAL RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, TEST, AND EVALUATION INFRASTRUCTURE GUIDELINES
The nation's research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) infrastructure must provide the capability and flexibility to test and evaluate a broad range of new aircraft and air transportation management systems, from component-level to full-scale, and to the extent practicable, to evaluate these at an enterprise level. For purposes of this policy, RDT&E infrastructure and assets refer to both experimental facilities and computational resources. Since many of these assets are used by multiple departments and agencies, industry, academia, and other non-Federal stakeholders, consistent cost and usage policies are needed to support the requirements of the broad user community in both the government and the private sector.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Executive Departments and Agencies:
IX. IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES
This national aeronautics R&D policy delineates responsibilities among executive departments and agencies for various aspects of the national aeronautics R&D enterprise. Pursuant to Executive Order 12881, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) should serve as the coordinating agent for all implementation actions for this policy, as follows:
Based upon the above actions and inputs, the NSTC should assess the efficacy of these implementation actions as appropriate and should recommend further measures to the executive departments and agencies as necessary to ameliorate any weaknesses found.
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